Sarah and I were planning to make a dairy-free holiday e-book. But we eventually decided to put our favorite holiday recipes online instead. That’s why this Classic Dairy-Free Thanksgiving Menu was created. But somehow, one of Sarah’s favorite family recipes was forgotten: Butterscotch Apple Pie. This recipe has a unique trick to it. A buttery, sugary mixture is poured over top. Most seeps through to the pie filling, but some coats the top crust, creating a distinctive butterscotch flavor.
Butterscotch Apple Pie is a Spin on Grandma Ople’s Popular Recipe
Sarah’s recipe has just a couple tweaks from Grandma Ople’s classic. She of course uses dairy-free pie crust and dairy-free “butter” instead of versions with dairy. And Sarah’s family does like the flavor best with a little cinnamon added. Here are some additional tips for making the best Butterscotch Apple Pie:
- Lattice Crust: Making a lattice top on this pie is essential, because it allows some of the sugary mixture to get into the apples. But there is another method …
- Solid Top Crust or Cleaner Method: You can stir about 2/3 of the buttery-sugar mixture into the apples, put on the top crust, and then spread or brush the remaining mixture onto the top crust of dough.
- Dairy-Free Pie Dough: Believe it or not, there are a lot of dairy-free pie dough products and unbaked pie crusts on the market. If you aren’t finding pie dough, you can get the unbaked pie crusts (often sold frozen) and remove one from the tin to use for the top. Or, just make your own! We like this Buttery Dairy-Free Pie Crust Recipe. It rolls out nicely. Sarah often uses a pie crust recipe like this one, but it does contain egg.
- Best Apples: Make sure you use apples that are made to hold up well in pie recipes. If your filling comes out mushy, it’s due to the apples, not the recipe. Also, we like a combination of tart (like Granny Smith) and sweet (like Honey Crisp or Gala) apples for balance.
- Cinnamon Note: Don’t be tempted to add the cinnamon to the buttery-sugar mixture. The presentation and taste is preferred when you mix it into the apples. If used in the buttery-sugar mixture, the top crust won’t look as pretty, and it does mess with that butterscotch flavor a little.
Special Diet Notes: Butterscotch Apple Pie
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.
We have not tested this recipe gluten-free. It will likely work well with your favorite gluten-free pie dough and flour alternative (but do not use coconut flour – it will suck up all the moisture). I you opt to use starch, I would reduce the amount to 2 tablespoons. Let us know if you try it!
- 1 batch dairy-free pastry for a 9-inch double crust pie (store-bought or homemade)
- 8 tart firm apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup dairy-free buttery spread or sticks
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- Preheat your oven to 425°F.
- Add the cinnamon to the apples and toss to coat.
- Melt the butter alternative in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in the flour to form a paste. Whisk in the water, sugar, and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer until thickened to a syrup.
- Meanwhile, roll out the top and bottom pie crusts.
- Place the bottom crust in the pan. Fill the bottom crust with the apples.
- Cut the top crust into lattice strips. Place the lattice work crust on top of the pie (see Lattice Crust Tutorial).
- Gently pour the buttery sugar mixture over the pie. Spread it carefully all over.
- Bake the pie for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the pie is browned on top and the apples are tender.
- Let the pie cool completely before slicing and serving.
I over thickened the sauce and made a sad, gloopy mess on the pie when I tried to pour it in. Just something to watch for!
You can add a little more water if it over thickens. Either way, it should still taste great!